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City of Ottawa looking at spending up to $5.4M to put bike lanes on bridge over 417

Ottawa City Hall is seen in this undated file photo. (CTV News Ottawa) Ottawa City Hall is seen in this undated file photo. (CTV News Ottawa)
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The City of Ottawa is looking at spending up to $5.4 million to put bike lanes on a bridge over Highway 417 when it comes up for replacement in the next few years.

A report prepared for the city's Transportation Committee outlines a plan to enter into an agreement with the Ontario government to build cycling infrastructure on a new bridge that would span across the Queensway at Maitland Avenue.

The bridge isn't due to be replaced until 2027, but staff say plans for more cycling infrastructure on Maitland Avenue date back to 2023.

"To align with the City's 2023 Transportation Master Plan, the City has requested that the Province include new cycling facilities across the bridge as part of its planned replacement. To accommodate this request, the Province requires the City to enter into a construction and maintenance agreement," the report says.

The Transportation Master Plan includes cycling infrastructure on Maitland Avenue from the Highway 417 westbound on-ramp to Riddell Ave South, including the overpass.

The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is designing the new bridge and a draft agreement proposes that the ministry include a cycling facility on the bridge, which would be paid for by the city.

City staff say adding the lanes would cost up to $5,403,185.84, including HST. The bill would come due some time between Jan. 1, 2026 and Dec. 31, 2027. The MTO is responsible for all other costs associated with the new bridge. With council's approval, payment for the cycling facilities would be funded through the Major Active Transportation Structures Program.

"Considering the City's future plans for this corridor as a key cycling connection over Highway 417 and recognizing that the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario's (MTO) new bridge will have a lifespan of over 75 years, it is important to capitalize on this opportunity to provide cycling facilities across the Maitland Avenue bridge as part of its planned replacement," the report says.

The new cycling facilities are described as a raised two-metre-wide unidirectional cycle track and 0.9-metre-wide concrete buffer on both sides of the bridge. The bridge will also include concrete sidewalks on both sides and five 3.5-metre wide traffic lanes.

The city says the province plans to replace four bridges over Highway 417, at Maitland Avenue, Woodroffe Avenue, Pinecrest Road, and Richmond Road. None of these bridges has cycling infrastructure. According to the report, Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and Transportation Committee Chair Coun. Tim Tierney wrote to the province to ask that cycling lanes be included in the designs of the four bridges.

"As a result, the MTO agreed to include and absorb the costs for the nominal widening for active transportation facilities on the Woodroffe Avenue, Pinecrest Road, and Richmond Road bridges," the report says. "However, given the extent of work needed to widen the Maitland Avenue bridge to accommodate cycling facilities, the MTO indicated that the cost for these facilities would be borne by the City."

The Transportation Committee is scheduled to meet May 23. If approved, the plan would rise to full City Council on May 29. 

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